When Time Out Market Boston opens in Fenway on June 27, it will feature a lineup of popular local chefs and restaurants (see the two links below this paragraph for more details.) Some of the Time Out Market Boston vendors will be serving versions of the menus — or at least a few starring dishes — from their original locations, while others are going in brand new directions.
The team behind Hojoko and O Ya will fall in the latter category with two Time Out Market Boston spaces: Gogo Ya (which will be serving crispy nori sushi tacos and bento bowls, as previously reported) and Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings. While both draw inspiration, at least in part, from Japanese cuisine, like their big siblings Hojoko and O Ya do, they’re entirely new projects for owners Tim and Nancy Cushman and Hojoko chef de cuisine Rob Wong, who is helping oversee the Gogo Ya and Ms. Cluck’s menus.
Here’s a sneak peek at what will be available at Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings, a diverse selection of dishes featuring chicken, dumplings, or both, with some flavors from Japan and beyond.
The smashed wonton toast: “Toast is really having its moment,” said Wong, “and we kind of wanted to turn it on its head.” So, instead of smashed avocado toast, there’s a carbs-on-carbs smashed wonton toast: Wontons made with a chicken and truffle stuffing are “smashed” onto Francese bread from Iggy’s (“a good local bakery,” said Wong) and garnished with a black vinegar sauce, crispy chile bits, ponzu, and some onion flowers.
The chicken and dumpling noodle soup: At the end of 2017, part of the Hojoko and O Ya leadership team traveled to Japan and found a ramen shop just outside of Harajuku, Tokyo, that fused traditional Japanese ramen with Chinese noodle soup, complete with chicken wontons. They thought it was clever, and thus Ms. Cluck’s chicken and dumpling noodle soup was born.
The chicken thigh is ginger-poached, and the chicken broth is “pretty straightforward,” said Wong. “It’s not quite a ramen, not quite a chicken noodle soup — somewhere in between.”
The Cajun karaage chicken sando: “I love fried chicken,” said Wong. “I think it was a no-brainer for Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings.” Wong’s eaten a lot of Nashville hot-style chicken sandwiches down south, including at landmarks like Hattie B’s and Prince’s, so he took that idea and added some Asian flavors to the mix.
“It’s a karaage fried chicken thigh, similar to what we do at Hojoko with a ginger soy marinade,” said Wong. After frying, it’s “dunked in a Nashville-esque-style hot sauce” that includes both Japanese and Korean chile flakes. It’s served on a toasted potato bun, finished with buttermilk ranch, iceberg lettuce, a slice of heirloom tomato, and bacon.
Ms. Cluck’s exact menu and pricing are still being finalized; the menu will be added here once it is available. But diners can also look forward to a few other dishes, including two types of gyoza (chicken, broccoli, and cheddar with a crispy cheese crust and spicy miso dipping sauce; curry chicken with a rakkyo shallot-pickle curry dip), a Vietnamese-inspired grilled chicken salad, a “bing-urrito” (sweet and spicy chicken in an egg crepe wrap with crispy wontons and iceberg lettuce), and karaage chicken and waffle fries (with umami salt, miso maple syrup, scallions, and yuzu kosho aioli).
Ms. Cluck’s gives the team “freedom to do a whole lot of fun stuff” in the realm of chicken and/or dumplings, said Wong. “Some traditional, some non-traditional.”